Ama, a friend indeed

Reflections following the death of my last grandparent

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Ama died on Tues Feb 10, after battling for about 2 weeks with pneumonia.

7 months before, her younger sister died, and just as she began to process her loss, she was afflicted with one ailment after another. I believe that the loss of her sister broke her heart so much so, that she involuntarily succumbed to whatever physical (and by extension psychological attack) came her way. I imagine that when one gets to 90, the physical and psychological are even more closely intertwined but what do I know? 🙂

Yes, she had been sick a couple times before; in fact, she moved to our home less than 2 years ago in an infirmed state. Yet she was a fighter. She never once seemed content to lie down and mope- instead, as she got help from her bed to her chair and back, she moped along the way 🙂

All along, Ama was determined to “live up” her life. Before she became very sick she was capable of using different VCRs to capture programs on two TVs simultaneously (for later viewing). She tended to record  the “Hour of Power” on  Saturday and watch it on Sunday morning during her devotional time. She and her sisters shared in the viewing of such programs (and a whole of others). They spent time detailing (subjectively and… surely objectively :)) events surrounding tennis tournaments, the players and their lives.  Ama’s hearing wasn’t the best (she never adapted to a hearing aid) but they always managed to have lengthy and seemingly fulfilling conversations. Up until the last couple of weeks before being hospitalized with pneumonia, she and Aunt Cynthia (her older sister) discussed tennis.

Ama did not allow depression to takeover. In spite of her increasing inability to take care of herself, make her notes, enjoy her tv programs, read her Bible, Daily Bread and Daily Word and track all her affairs and those of my mother 🙂 she never stopped trying. She even learned to use her Kindle in December.

I was amazed because I thought how easy it might have been to just clam up and despise life as it was. Through the stressors of having to move out of her home and acclimatize to a new environment; the pain of losing a very-loved one; and, quite suddenly her own mobility Ama kept in touch with us (her immediate and extended family) as much as possible. Rather, she made sure that we kept in touch with her. She looked forward to calls and visits. There was no telling her that “Oh, I came to see you but you were sleeping”; No sir, she wanted to be awoken and have the opportunity to interact.

Ama had contact information and birthday dates of every single person with whom she had ever been associated. She was also a financial and administrative guru. To me it seemed that it mattered not how much there was to manage just that it was managed with impeccable precision. That she memorized due dates of payments, account numbers and expiry dates for car insurance etc. was a mystery.

She kept tabs- on me especially. Of course it got tedious at times 🙂 Mom says she only had to ask Ama if she wanted my daily itinerary. Not too sure how her efforts to trace Mom’s movements panned out but she made it very clear whenever she wanted to talk with her and they had their personal and professional dates right there in her bedroom- quite frequently 🙂

I am thankful for the opportunity to have shared the last 2 years of her life so closely. I feel fuller because of it. I have memories galore.  Lessons learned that could have been taught in no better way. She left her handprint on my heart.

In my sister’s words, “I can only hope to become half the phenomenal woman that she was”.

As I write this I consider that there is so much I could share about life with Ama…I could go on forever.Just tonight I reflected on our times together watching “Chasing Life” on ABC Family. As the new season started in January I had hoped we could resume- chasing life. That was not to be here on earth but I know she is chasing still: of life eternal.

To chasing!!!

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